After two hours of complex work, crews with more than a dozen local agencies successfully freed a young construction worker from beneath a massive concrete slab in Edina's Rolling Green neighborhood.
Edina Fire Chief Marty Scheerer called it a "very complex rescue," but said it's the sort of situation his department has trained for many times.
"It's a rescue that required a lot of stabilization of unstable materials—concrete, dirt and all kinds of things—in a very confined space," Scheerer said. "We've trained for this and it went like clockwork. It went exactly like we trained."
The young construction worker was installing a drainage system as part of an addition to a home at 16 Paddock Road and was pinned beneath a 5-foot-wide slab of concrete after a dirt wall caved in on him shortly before 8 a.m. on Wednesday, June 27.
The man was reportedly conscious throughout the rescue efforts and was "heavily medicated" to help relieve any pain.
To rescue the trapped worker, crews stabilized the weight on top of him and then dug out the dirt beneath him until he could be safely removed.
Scheerer said the young man was "doing extremely well" throughout the lengthy rescue, but noted he was "lucky to be alive" given the circumstances.. He was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center by ambulance shortly before 11 a.m.
"He was thrilled to be out," Scheerer said. "He was a lucky young man. The amount of weight that was on him, had it been on his upper extremities or his chest, it could've been bad."
The Special Operations Team is trained to work on a variety of rescues—structural collapse, confined space, trench/excavation, ice and water—which Scheerer said helped ensure Tuesday's efforts went smoothly.
Because the department originally responded to the call as paramedics, they are unable to release information about the victim's identity or specific injuries.
"In the old days, I think it probably would've not gone as well," Scheerer said. "It certainly could've been deadly."